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Friday, Feb 23, 2024

Measuring Your Company’s Impact

If you are a business owner, you create jobs, and you should be proud of that achievement. If you are a business owner, you pay taxes that are put to use for the betterment of the country (even if you disagree with some of the spending decisions). If you are a business owner, you produce a good or a service that someone needs, and you are helping to fulfill that need. Our Valley area is full of great businesses that create employment, pay taxes, and produce goods or services. But is that enough? Should you or your company contribute anything to the community where you company operates? What would “responsible corporate citizenry” look like? Or does your company operate like it is on an island? Our banks do a good job by sponsoring different organizations and having staff get involved in charitable causes. They are mandated to do so, and some go beyond what is expected, and their staff contribute so much time. As we crawl back from yet another recession, you will help by rebuilding your business. But ask yourself if you and your staff can do more. We have hundreds of very, very small businesses in our Valley from hairdressers, to local laundry guys, web designers, graphic artists, attorneys, and bookkeepers – the majority of which were not able to get any help from SBA Loans. One organization that helps these folks is the local chamber of commerce, so I would suggest you look again at the chamber. Offer your leadership and at a very least, membership. Consider some of the needs in our Valley: • Public schools are going to be facing a cut of 10 percent or more. Students will be asked to spend more time at home and many of the neediest students do not have the access to technology and are in danger of falling behind. What can your company do to help our public school system? Most chambers of commerce have a program that assists businesses that want to partner with schools. Ask them how you can help. • Private schools, even religious schools, have limited budgets. Do not overlook them as you consider what to do. • One consideration we give in picking charities or schools to support is whether our employees are involved either directly or through their families. If one coaches a team, we want to sponsor that team. • Don’t forget public safety. Our police and fire personnel need your support. Most communities have a foundation where you can contribute your time or money to let these public servants know how much you appreciate them. The best example is how Gelb Enterprises works with local law enforcement and fire departments. Rickey Gelb will tell you that when we are running out of the building, they are running in. So he is happy to sponsor and donate to them. • Likewise, health care and hospitals could use help. The heroes of the pandemic were our front-line doctors, nurses and health care workers. Many local restaurants have programs that would allow you to buy lunch for a floor of workers as a simple way to thank them for all they have done. • If you don’t want to make the individual effort, consider helping one of our fine umbrella organizations – the Community Foundation of the Valleys or the United Chambers of Commerce or the Valley Economic Alliance. Giving to your community is not just the right thing to do, it is the “right thing to do for business.” About 9 out of 10 Americans say they’ll have a positive image of your company and perhaps switch business to you if you give to the causes they support. You’ve done well with your company and you should be proud. Now isn’t it time to do good for your community? John Parker is a founding partner and chief financial officer of Parker Brown Inc., a construction company headquartered in Canogo Park. He is a director of Mission Valley Bank; serves on the board of BUILD Industries, which works with those who have mental disabilities; is on the management board of the Valley Economic Alliance, and has long been involved in several chambers of commerce, among other civic duties.

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